America's Growing Love for Tattoos

Friday, August 24, 2012

Americans are becoming more and more inked. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has now confirmed that 21 percent of Americans are sporting at least one tattoo. That’s up from only 16 percent in 2003. The reasons for the upward trend aren't exactly known, but it could signal a change in the way we view permanent body art, which is still taboo in many circles.

Maybe your grandpa bears a reminder of his military service, or your mom's got a flower on her ankle as a holdover from her hippie days, or a friend is working on coloring in his sleeves.

Betty Rose, a New York City tattoo artist, says tattoos have become a way to fit in rather than stand out. John Stanton, Washington D.C. bureau chief for, has also commented on the ubiquity of body art in our nationals capital, writing about inked Senators and Representatives on the Hill.


Betty Rose and John Stanton

Produced by:

Joe Hernandez

Comments [2]

Kevin Frick from Baltimore

Great story--as someone who recently got my first tattoo at age 42. I enjoyed listening to the story and even included references to it in my blog ( What I wanted to comment on, however, was citing the statistic as a CDC statistic. Yes, it was reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which is a CDC publication. However, the CDC cited a study by Harris Interactive. So, I'm not sure that reporting it as a CDC statistic was technically correct. Listeners deserve to know exactly where data came from.

Aug. 26 2012 05:28 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I hate that people can get tattoos and that they can be removed. I love the idea of watching tattoos on young people stretch out over time like silly putty...

I love the idea of looking at middle aged women covered in tattoos 30 years from now with a magnifying glass. (I will be 80)

I sport "the Cat In the Hat" on one arm and Alfred E. Newman on my other. I explain to people that "the cat" was the first book that I ever read and Mad magazine was the last. My literary joke which is of course not true but dramatic

I got these tattoos when they were still illegal to get in New York. I'm not sure if I was coming of age today if I would get tattoos. It marks people in a different way than it used to

Aug. 24 2012 09:58 AM

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